The story that inspired this image…
All too often, our fast-paced world chooses to overlook the concept that, “anything worth having requires sacriﬁce at some level.” We are the “instant gratiﬁcation” generation and the idea of “pain for gain” does not sit well with us. So, for many, “the rewards of Heaven” need to be offered at a comfortable price. Yet, the Gospels offer no room for such negotiation.
Jesus did not mix words when He told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus tells us that there is a “cost of following” and He talks about a “broad road, a narrow gate,” and having to “endure to the end.” He even warns us that we had better “count these costs” before we decide to saddled up with Him.
“That’s a lot to ask,” we might say. “What’s the upside?”“
I came that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.” In other words, “the abundant life” is the reward. Jesus tells us that the fullest life comes when we put others’ needs before our own; that true joy, love, peace – and Him – are found at the back of the line rather than the front and that the “rewards of Heaven” await us on this unconventional “road less traveled.”